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[personal profile] smallhobbit
I hadn't been sure whether to see this play, given the hassle of getting to London and being out all day, but SM was going out, and I wasn't going to the theatre this month, so I decided to buy a ticket.  I was right about the hassle.  My train was cancelled - at least I found out the day before, so I didn't get to the station to find I had to wait an hour.  And GWR still haven't managed to add an extra carriage to a two carriage train which has to convey two lots of passengers, so the first part of the journey was cramped by the end.  At least I had a seat for the journey - having complained on Twitter.  It appears GWR are launching a new advertising campaign to encourage people to travel by train - I'd be more inclined to if I thought their 'Great Adventure' wouldn't be 'is there going to be a train'.

I had planned to go to the V&A to see a couple of their exhibits, but with the loss of an hour I changed plans and went to Leighton House instead.  There was an interesting exhibition of paintings by Lawrence Alma-Tedema (no, I hadn't heard of him either) and a beautiful Arab room in the house.  So that was worth doing, after which I walked through Holland Park from the Kensington High Street end towards Notting Hill Gate, to go to the Print Room at the Coronet to see the play.

Trouble in Mind was written by Alice Childress, an African-American playwright, in 1955.  It concerns an actress who challenges the racial stereotypes she is always given to portray.  Although set in 1955 it remains very relevant as regards racism, and those who believe themselves not to be racist, and yet unconsciously still maintain certain attitudes.

The attraction of the play for me was Jonathan Slinger, who played Al Manners the director of the play within a play.  In addition Tanya Moodie, who was Gertrude in last year's RSC Hamlet, plays the main actress Wiletta Mayer.  The whole cast was excellent, and the play was thoughtprovoking without being heavy.

The theatre was about two-thirds full.  It's not a place I'd heard of before, and outside the usual theatre haunts of most people, but I understand ticket bookings have gone up with some good reviews (which it deserves).  It's only on until 14 October, but one to bear in mind.


Sep. 24th, 2017 12:38 am
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[personal profile] lusentoj
jojo's bizarre adventure is really really gay.....

i mean, i kind of knew already. the main character was going around wearing neon pink and everything. but then the evil guy sticks his hand into the other guy's neck, pulls out his artery and starts fondling it and saying how great and soft it feels, and there's a big close-up of it on the screen.

it's an action series but it's... it's... uncomfortable. i didn't know you could make softcore gore this gay.

EDIT: a lot more gay happened after that. one of those "you're the only one in the world for me" and "i only married her because i thought my dead dad would have liked her" things.

the fandom seems pretty bad though. there's TONS of fics but a terrifying amount are stuff like "x reader" and hopping on the transgender trend ("transgender main character" does NOT equal you writing a normal girl character 100%, even one who's fine with their natural body, and then having everyone call them "he" for seemingly no reason).

new layout

Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:46 pm
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[personal profile] lusentoj
layout is 95% complete, unfortunately i can't figure out how to change the text for (or more ideally, remove completely) the "tags" and "memories" header links:

gonna update the english version of my exchange blog then link it to japanese one; i'll try to make an "i'm leaving soon!" vlog post thing too. i'll be attempting to speak / write / etc ONLY in japanese (or esperanto) as much as possible starting from when i get off the plane, so after this the vlogs will be in japanese (or esperanto if i really need a break).

at this point, even some of the (icelandic) books i originally wanted to keep i just feel like... why bother? if i really want to read icelandic i can do it online. what's stopping me is just that one is a 1940's sherlock holmes translation, the other's a vladimir nabokov translation, so they're kinda rare and stuff (everyone reads in english now)... i'll try to scan them and if i can't manage it i guess i'll keep them. i've never read these books so what's the point of owning them? on the other hand if i do get into icelandic again someday, i can't just find them easily again. those are the only two thoughts battling it out in my head.

i was gonna keep my ratty jacket since it's warm/wool and then realized in sendai it's like 24°C (= swedish summer weather), here it's 14°, and sendai doesn't get down to 14 until a month from now so i'll definitely have time to find a secondhand jacket before it starts getting cold. so i'll just bring a normal pullover and my wool cardigan...

8 days left

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:56 am
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[personal profile] lusentoj
i'm on ep 8 of jojo's bizarre adventure... the vocabulary is SO varied in this series it's kinda amazing, but it seems like it's calming down a little now. spending most of my time these days attempting to get my files off my phone, helping my wife toss her stuff, etc.

wife's parents are being super freaking annoying about health insurance, vaccinations and all this random shit like "check to make sure you passport and bank cards don't expire, omg it'd be so bad if you had problems with this!". look, ignoring everything else (they've magically forgotten that i got a new bank card like last month + we got new passports like 2 months ago??), i heavily doubt we could get health insurance or a new bank card WITHIN ONE WEEK BEFORE LEAVING FOR JAPAN!! so why the hell are they only bringing this up NOW? btw i as an exchange student get full health insurance automatically and my wife's parents didn't even believe me on this so they ended up calling a ton of places to ask about it and ended up printing out 20 pages of very general info that literally anyone can find online in two seconds.

other annoying thing: wife's sisters. they went to go watch a movie in our room with my wife, and apparently the smell of the TEA BAGS in our room were "giving them an asthma attack". nevermind that dust, mold, clouds of rapeseed oil smoke from dad's cooking etc don't give them asthma attacks; they don't even own inhalers or asthma medicine of any kind. btw my brother had asthma as a kid so i know what a real asthma attack is like.

anyway, because my wife's mom is saying she'll pay for it we're going to go to the walk-in clinic tomorrow and TRY and get vaccinations for this one really rare disease transmitted by mosquitoes in japan (protip: if you don't eat sugar, bugs don't bite you. ever. haven't gotten any ticks either. if you eat coconut oil, bugs don't even fly NEAR you!) which, according to sweden's medical site, 1. only exists in certain times of the year in certain locations of japan, 2. EXTREMELY few people get it, 3. only 30% of those who DO get it get any kind of serious effects, 4. you can just get vaccinated for it in japan anyway and it's unnecessary to do it in sweden.

i linked my japanese exchange blog to the international department lady at my japanese school, the one i've been emailing tons over the past few months — so much so that i'm really worried i'm eating up her time / distracting her at work or something. but the school seems REALLY laid-back and she hasn't said a single thing about being busy (even when i've said "you're probably very busy right now..."), in fact it seems like she's a lot happier if she can talk with the exchange students and get friendly with them (she wants to call me and my wife by our nicknames) and stuff so it's probably fine...

anyway, she read and liked the blog and then linked it to some normal japanese students at the school, so it seems like i might have some people interested in being friends with me before i even ARRIVE entirely thanks to me creating this study abroad blog in advance. all the japanese people just LOVE my blog, and seriously all it is is "lots of photos + me writing in bad japanese". i even made a new japanese twitter friend from it today, he saw my blog and came to message me.

she also told me that there's a neon genesis evangelion exhibit in sendai in october; tickets are only 800 yen if you buy in advance. it's only open for a few days and it's the same weekend as my esperanto club onsen trip so we'll see if i can go... my wife doesn't like evangelion so i wonder if i can go with someone else lol. in japan i want to stop being scared of doing stuff/going somewhere alone or doing stuff i haven't done before. and i want to just "ask" if random strangers want to hang out together, that kind of thing; not wait for people to invite me but me actually invite them.


Sep. 21st, 2017 11:52 am
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[personal profile] mafief
The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Words: 9695
Where was Watson living? Baker Street
Pre/Post Reichenbach (May 1891)? Pre. February. Before Watson/Morstan Marriage (1888).

John Watson
Sherlock Holmes
Alexander Holder – (client) senior partner at Holder & Stevenson
Unnamed Groom
Unnamed Page
Lucy Parr - the second waiting-maid, sweetheart was Francis Prosper
Arthur Holder – son of Alexander, plays cards and gambles, loves Mary
Sir George Burnwell – “ruined gambler, an absolutely desperate villain, a man without heart or conscience”, Mary’s lover
Mary Holder – niece of Alexander
Unnamed inspector
Unnamed constable
Francis Prosper – green-grocer
Sir George Burnwell’s valet

221B Baker Street
Fairbank somewhere in Streatham?
Sir George’s house (wherever that is)
Receiver (unknown location)
Cell that holds Arthur (unknown location)

Other crimes/criminals mentioned:

Other studies mentioned:

Questions about the story
London weather -;sess
Question about this. I was chatting with a British expat friend about winters. When he was little he was told to never walk on frozen ponds because the ice wasn’t think enough. When he came to New England he was all freaked out that people were ice skating on ponds. Is this normal?

More winter questions. How drafty would these buildings be? Are the windows single pane? Is the only heat from a fire place? Would each bedroom have a fireplace?

Snow removal on streets – I’m pretty sure they didn’t have snow plows. The snow in Boston gets nasty during the winter and I’m guessing that it would be the same here. Probably one of the few times that the smog was reduced.

Threadneedle Street – There are actual banks there! Lloyds, Nationwide, Bank of England (and Bank of England museum)

Underground – as in subway? Do Holmes or Watson ever use this?

£50,000 sounds like an insane amount to me now (not a trifling sum!). What would this be today?

Beryl = emerald/aquamarine or just about any other color of precious stone. What color is this piece? I had in my mind that it is blue
Coronet = not a necklace but a crown.
First time reading this I thought it was a necklace with blue stones not a golden crown with some sort of colored or clear gemstone.

“I felt that it would be an imprudence to leave so precious a thing in the office behind me.” Yah, bad idea bud.

Streatham to Threadneedle street is about an hour commute one way. That seems like a monster commute for any time period but especially for that one that time period.
“short railway journey and a shorter walk brought” Train ride was ~25 min.

“green-grocer who brings our vegetables round” I’m guessing that grocery stores were not invented yet but there were markets. People of a certain social class could afford to have their groceries delivered.

carte blanche?

common loafer/collar turned up, his shiny, seedy coat, his red cravat, and his worn boots/disreputable clothes = I’m guessing lower class

“he breathed his vows” guessing this doesn’t mean wedding vow.

“the pavement had been cleared” Ah ha! Snow removal. By what?

“life-preserver” the same one that is used to keep people afloat in water?

“I knew my man, however, and I clapped a pistol to his head before he could strike.” OK, now why didn’t Holmes take Watson? I thought Watson is typically used in this type of situation. Seems rather foolish to go there alone.

“address of the receiver” pawn shop?

“got to my bed about two o’clock, after what I may call a really hard day’s work.” Yah, exactly. Also travelled at least 20 miles.

Fee = Paid £1000 for this case. Also, did he have to front the £3000 to pay for the beryls or did the receiver accept an IOU?

Other things about Holmes
“Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-chair and, sitting beside him, patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy, soothing tones which he knew so well how to employ.”

“It was no uncommon thing for him to be away for days and nights on end when he was hot upon a scent…”

the last days

Sep. 20th, 2017 12:27 am
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[personal profile] lusentoj
11 days left until we leave. went to stockholm, picked up the VISAs. the two embassy guys we met were suuper nice; seems like the mean/grumpy guys actually work in another part of the building. wife's sisters are visiting, i have to empty my phone and give it to them today or tomorrow.

in stockholm when we were walking there were two fat old ladies going in the opposite direction, the one with the bright pink hat stopped with a big smile and said "good day! good day, misses! and good day, mister! this is the mister, right?" and we said "yes" and she said good day again and then we said "thanks, good day" and she left. her friend was silent the whole time.

"good day" is really archaic in swedish, no one says it anymore, my wife was super shocked to hear it. and i don't really know why the lady assumed we were married (i mean, we ARE, but literally every time i get on the bus the drivers assume i'm under 18 years old so??). afterwards my wife said "what's wrong with swedes? it's like that old lady had been locked up in her basement for 50 years and only came out for the first time today or something".

bought a suitcase for my wife (neon pink). she's finally started to get a little excited about going to japan, NOT because "it's japan" but because she's actually realizing that we're going to, if nothing else, at least be out of this house. her complaints about her parents / sisters have been increasing by the day, which i take as a sign that she's getting more and more impatient about us leaving.

some stuff with the parents does seem like it's getting worse, ex. her dad just SMELLS really really bad, every time he comes out of the bathroom it's like someone died in there AND the smell sticks to not only him but to YOU and the ROOM. my wife describes it as him being a "walking corpse". definitely wasn't this bad a year ago. also you can tell that his memory problems are reaching his face now; tonight when he talked to me, throughout the whole time he LOOKED completely lost and confused; even just a couple months ago he'd TALK confused but not LOOK confused.

i've also found out that some stuff in japan is cheaper than i originally thought, ex. someone just told me they bought 8 volumes of (brand-new-looking) used manga for 1,000 yen which is like... $1 USD per book i guess. i know it's super easy to spend all your money away in japan but wow, i'll really have to watch out!!

in "japanese-language" news, i've started watching dramas with japanese subtitles instead of just anime. everyone online says that dramas have "more realistic talking than anime" and uh..... no. not at all. not modern anime, anyway.

A Shipping Meme (Part One)

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:41 pm
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[personal profile] smallhobbit
which I have pinched from [personal profile] verdande_mi  and like them I'm only answering the questions I want to answer.

Questions 1 to 20 )


Sep. 17th, 2017 07:01 pm
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[personal profile] lusentoj
ALL my belongings fit into ONE (medium-sized) suitcase!! books, clothes, electronics, everything. my backpack will be for food/entertainment for the plane trip and sensitive stuff like my laptop and important papers, but i could actually fit those things into the suitcase too if i wanted. i'll just have to double-check that i won't be over the weight limit. i wasn't actually aiming for this when i was cleaning (among other things you can actually bring 2 checked bags), it just turned out that way.

it seems like switching from a student/"dependant" VISA to a work VISA is super easy, but getting a work VISA (or any VISA at all really) from scratch is really difficult; so as long as i can still go to all my classes schedule-wise it won't actually be a problem to switch to a work VISA partway through my exchange (which is what i was worried about — in some countries you have to completely leave the country, wait some months and come back). my japanese friend said now is the best time to get full-time jobs in japan since "everyone needs people", and if no normal place will hire me then to try at random American companies.

still have to:
• repair the old Mac i'm taking with me; set it up with programs etc
• remove files from all other comps/phones & put them on the old mac
• sell/send off some old books
• sew slippers and mittens for myself (i have some secondhand leather pants + sheep skin bits for this exact purpose), then toss all the rest of my fabric

i think that's about it for me. my wife still has a bunch to go through but we managed to get through 3 boxes of her stuff today, so we're getting there... she said she's actually been having nightmares about having too much stuff / people randomly giving her tons of extra stuff so yeah, let's clean!!!

updated the page about how my 3-year japanese degree is; i really need to fix up this site a little in general:

i've started re-reading the stories we read in class last semester; i can actually "understand" them now, like all the details, but back then i missed what feels like the majority of the plots except for the easiest story. part of it was how stressed i was during class time, but the other part was just my japanese level. no idea why we were giving such hard stuff to read, it should've been for people a semester or two after us! right now i'm probably two semesters ahead of the basic class expectations.

anime-wise, i'm focusing on jojo's bizarre adventures starting from yesterday because it really has a lot of words i don't know while still overall being easy to understand (as in, there are some series where due to the context, pacing, billions of characters etc even if you DO know the words you're still confused; jojo isn't really like that). read another completely random yaoi manga volume last night and i knew like 99% of everything in it, that's the second time that's happened now and it feels pretty great. if i get depressed about not being able to read novels or something i'll always be able to grab a manga.


Sep. 15th, 2017 04:24 pm
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[personal profile] lusentoj
16 days until we leave for japan. VISA guys haven't called yet. bought a (cheap, teal) suitcase; we'll get a second (pink) one if/when we need it. you should always get obnoxiously-coloured luggage containers so you can easily pick them out / people can pick YOU out from the crowd; just a ribbon doesn't work.

been messing with the hand-held sewing machine some more. i've learned a few more things:
• if you sew too close to the edge of your fabric, it won't sew.
• cheap thread will break a ton
• it can use thicker thread; thread type doesn't matter as long as you can get it through the needle.
• turning IS possible; how accurate you can turn, i haven't tested yet
• it CAN sew leather but figuring out the tension for it is too much of a pain in the butt, also you might have to manually move it to the next stitch with your hand because the feet aren't THAT good and the leather doesn't want to self-move. that or it was the weird leather i tried (it had a lining fabric and stuff so i was technically sewing 4 layers).
• technically you should be adjusting the tension or something when you sew over seams (=4 or 6 layers of fabric instead of 2) but you can manually pull the fabric until you're over the seam instead and it'll turn out fine.

as for my sock project in general.... sewing a ton of diamonds together is NOT what i'm meant for, and i'm pretty sure i miscounted and only actually have enough "diamond fabric" for one sock. it's just a test, and i was planning on getting a real tabi sewing pattern when in japan anyway, so it's alright. i'm pretty sure patchwork is why people join sewing circles: you work on my project for a bit and i'll work on yours, PLEASE SEW THESE DIAMONDS FOR ME I'M GOING CRAZY.

finished watching Chobits with my wife, it was just as disappointing as i remembered it but she'd never seen the ending so that's why we watched it. have like 6 eps of From the New World left, which is really killing me because it's too difficult AND is more boring than i remembered. then i've got maybe 15 left of Death Note, and this one nonfiction book from the library i need to read. i probably can't finish another season of any high-level series before i go to japan (where i most likely won't be watching ANY anime unless i go to a friend's house or movie theatre).

i'm really frustrated with my japanese level again... i just feel like i "should" be able to understand more by now. i don't spend 12 hours a day studying or anything so it's to be expected, but sigh. most of my japanese comes from class + anime and manga, so something like a review blog or newspaper article still feels like another world even if i do glance at them on occasion...

Right, we're back!

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:37 am
smallhobbit: (screech owl)
[personal profile] smallhobbit
Screech Owl is back at Brownies - as is Brown Owl.  Sparkly Owl is on holiday far away in the sunshine.

I've just been reading my entry for this time last year, when we had masses of Brownies - this time, for reasons I will explain below, we have far fewer to start with.  We had 12 due to come back, and slightly to our surprise, 11 did - there's usually a few drop out over the summer.  The only one who didn't come had been erratic last term - she has other activities after school, and her grandmother can't always get her to us.  In addition she's probably only got one more term with us until she's 10, so they may have decided it's easier if she stops now.

Sadly, despite initial interest, we have no new offers of help, so we shall carry on.  It seems to be a widespread problem.  On the other hand, there are new girls wanting to join.  We had two start yesterday - a third had found a place in another pack at a more suitable time.  That's fair enough - we have a further seven (I think) who are old enough to join now and will be invited to start in a couple of week's time.

We played various games - our normal opening night activity.  A number of the girls were very excitable, which meant I had to be stricter in enforcing the rules than I would normally be.  With some of the Brownies' help I pointed out we have rules to make it safe to play (if half the runners go the opposite way round the circle from the other half, there will be an accident) and to make it fair to all.  And, of course, there is the ultimate rule "If Screech Owl says you're out, you're out!"

We stacked in the cupboard all the goodies we got from collecting Sainsbury's Active Kids vouchers:

At the front is a ball (yet to be blown up) in the shape of a globe - handy for both games and when we talk about different countries.  There's a stop watch; enough plant pots and saucers for everybody (either for growing seeds, or for table decorations); and two storage boxes (for pens, rubbers, etc).

Next week we're off to visit the local Police Headquarters.  They can only take 15 girls at a time, which is why we restricted how many new Brownies could start at the beginning of term.


Sep. 14th, 2017 03:56 pm
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[personal profile] mafief
The Adventure of Abbey Grange
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Words: 9170
Where was Watson living? Baker Street
Pre/Post Reichenbach (May 1891)? Post. Winter of ‘97

Brief summary:
Holmes called in by Hopkins and the case appears to be ordinary. Details are called into question by Holmes and he finds that there is more to the case.

John Watson
Sherlock Holmes
Stanley Hopkins
Sir Eustace Brackenstall - richest men in Kent, dead, abusive
Lady Brackenstall (aka Mary Fraser)
Theresa Wright – maid
Captain Croker

221B Baker Street
Charing Cross Station
Abbey Grange, Marsham, Kent
Chislehurst Station
shipping office of the Adelaide-Southampton line, end of Pall Mall
Scotland Yard (did not go in)
Charing Cross telegraph office

Other crimes/criminals mentioned:
Lewisham gang of burglars – three Randalls

Other studies mentioned:
composition of a text-book on the art of detection

Questions about the story
“Wake up your Watson” – When did this start in the fandom?

Cab vs handsom vs carriage vs dogcart

Charing Cross Station – (find on map) How well connected is England?
- Train information in general

“crackling paper, ‘E.B.’ monogram”?

Chislehurst Station – find on map

noble park?


More medical stuff, bathing swelling with vinegar and water – why is this even a good thing?

“It is a sacrilege, a crime, a villainy to hold that such a marriage is binding”
- I read somewhere that Doyle was of the opinion that women should be able to leave/be divorced from marriages such as this. But, for some reason he was not a proponent of women’s rights.

“drenching a dog with petroleum and setting it on fire” What!?


multiplex knives – swiss army knife?

“as our train was crawling out of a suburban station, he sprang on to the platform and pulled me out after him” How does this work? Are there doors to the outside in each compartment?

“We have not yet met our Waterloo, Watson, but this is our Marengo, for it begins in defeat and ends in victory” reference lost on me.

“Vox populi, vox Dei”?

Complicated, messy, what would have happened if Hopkins had figured it out?

Other things about Holmes
“Why do you not write them yourself?”
- Oh goodness, Holmes, this is when Watson earns his title of long suffering friend.

Did not turn in Captain Croker. Willing to decide his own justice.

hit upon a good idea

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:08 am
lusentoj: (布団)
[personal profile] lusentoj
i have some scrap fabric i want to mess with before i have to toss it and leave for japan. IN japan, i want to MAKE stuff like traditional socks (tabi), get secondhand kimono and fix/wear them etc. keep in mind i haven't sewn in like 10 years and was never all that good... anyway, all our fabric is pretty ugly and i had a thought. you know quilting? they make shapes with fabric? when you lack japanese fabric you can make fabric shapes in the traditional japanese style instead. google "sashiko" or "刺し子 柄" (sashiko pattern) and you'll get the idea.

the difficulty is finding the "quilt block" names that match the japanese patterns! i don't know anything about quilting (i've watched my grandma make one... once) so i'm jumping into this blind. the basic japanese patterns are:

1. mountains (= "chevron falls"?)

2. flowers 1 (= "pickle dish"?)

3. flowers 2

4. plus-signs 1 + 2 (= "plus signs")

5. pound-signs (= "igeta, hashtag"), diamonds (= "slanted diamonds"), fish scales/shells/scallops (= "clam shells")

6. these rectangles

7. arrow-tails

8. squares (= "nine patch")

9. hexagons (= "simple hexagons")

10. i haven't found it in sashiko yet but another common pattern is "clouds" and this quilter's block looks kinda like it:

so the plan is, find out the quilter's names for all of these, make some, then use that fabric to make socks.


Sep. 13th, 2017 02:54 pm
lusentoj: (Default)
[personal profile] lusentoj
tried watching another documentary in japanese... it was much easier to understand than the one about atomic missiles & stuff in okinawa (also had more english), i got about 80%.

in the 70′s some japanese guys went to the USA to track down american soldiers/their families who had to do with hiroshima. i didn’t know this — america didn’t teach it to me in school — but the bomb also killed a lot of american soldiers (there was a POV camp there etc) whether directly or from radiation sickness afterwards. since no one was told about the radiation or real nature of the bomb, american doctors had no clue how to treat the patients, only the japanese ones really had any clue. also america withheld info even just about the fact that certain american soldiers had died for decades; so the guys' parents didn't even know there was proof that they were dead. info that these japanese guys were able to get easily. among other things, it makes you wonder what america was trying to cover up.

a few things really struck me about this.
1. in the 70's they had no translator, it was simply the TV station guy who went there to the USA with his own (decent) English to interview everyone; in the 90's they hired a Japanese lady translator when in Japan; "last year" when Obama came to Japan, his official Japanese translator was a huge, American, scary-looking "military white guy" with a buzzcut. i was like... what? Obama has something against hiring Japanese people?! it looked like something out of a cult.

2. japanese people act exactly like swedes. i know i keep saying this, but they even SAY THE EXACT SAME THINGS AS SWEDES. americans don't make a WWII documentary showing the side of and sympathizing with the "enemy", but japan does (and so does sweden)! japanese people who were literally born and raised in hiroshima and study the bombing as their main profession sit there going "no matter what your home country, the pain of losing your child is the same" etc. americans don't do this. not modern americans, anyway.

got my sewing machine!!!

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:22 pm
lusentoj: (布団)
[personal profile] lusentoj

it sewed through 6 layers of jeans, 4 layers of cotton T-shirt (with print on it), and I haven't tested anything heavier yet. it actually seemed like it worked a lot better on thicker fabric but that just might be me not knowing how to mess with the tension. it's really tiny and easy to hold and works well with just one hand (and i'm not a strong guy!!). it's pretty quiet, about as loud as a stapler. if the "bobbin thread" becomes a tangled nest it's EXTREMELY easy to get rid of, WAY easier than on a real machine. the "feeders" that hold the fabric stuck to the pressure foot and move it forward with each stitch work really well. it was also a lot easier to thread than a normal machine for me, probably since you can get your face and hands so much closer to this one.

so far all the problems are just "user error": if the tension is wrong it doesn't sew at all (the stitches don't move forward) or they bunch up. if you accidentally cut both threads underneath the pressure foot instead of just the furthest-back one, all your sewing will come loose. if you don't press down all the way it'll skip a stitch (it's possible this also happens sometimes when the tension is wrong). if you don't hold the fabric straight, your stitches won't be straight; if you don't hold it with an even pressure, your stitches won't all be the same length. i tried oiling the machine and it didn't seem to help anything. if you want to replace the needle you need a screwdriver.

due to how you hold the fabric (there must be a way to fix this —get a fabric-holder + fasten the machine to the tabletop?) the stitches LOOK like hand-sewing; but they're extremely strong. i pulled with all my might and they didn't rip or loosen. there's no real way of adjusting the stitch length (all you can do is pull at the fabric to manually draw it through faster or slower) and your stitches are going to be visible. i'm going to try and research/test tension and see if i can't figure out something about the visible stitches.

anyway, for everything where you don't care if the stitches are visible, or if you're going to use another method to hide the stitches later or something, it seems like it'd work great after you figure out what tension you need. for some garments (ex. kimono) it's actually better to have "hand-sewing" because the end garment is more flexible compared to one done with perfect machine sewing, or so i've heard.

Book Review Year 3 No 3

Sep. 12th, 2017 06:32 pm
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[personal profile] smallhobbit
I've read quite a few books recently, which is why this is a slightly longer review than normal - I was going to do it last week, but was close to finishing two of the books, so I thought I'd wait.

The Minitiarist by Jessie Burton

There's been a lot said about this book, so I thought I'd give it a go.  They even had a copy in our local library (which I reserved and collected two days' later to save getting dressed to go to the library).  I quite enjoyed it, but I wasn't taken by it as much as other people seem to have been.  And the central premise of the story, that of the dolls' house, for me didn't work as I'd hoped.  I'll be interested to see what others of my flist thought.

Ovid by David Wishart

A mystery set in ancient Rome, recommended by someone in my flist.  The mystery was quite interesting and the setting was reasonably entertaining.  This is the first in a series - I may read more, but there's plenty else on my 'to read' list at the moment.

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The witches aren't my favourite of Pratchett's characters, but I enjoyed the story.  And even if not my favourite in the Discworld series, they're still better than some things I've read, so I shall certainly be reading more.

Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton

A present from [personal profile] aome  I was totally taken in by the story, suspecting characters I really didn't want to suspect, but happy at the outcome.  It was definitely responsible for one or two late nights, as I had to read 'just one more chapter'.  A series I shall most certainly continue with.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Really worth reading.  Sad, obviously, and graphic, but an excellent description of the first world war from the viewpoint of the German trenches.  The daughter and I are going on a tour of some of the battlefields next April.

The Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman

Recommended by several of my friends: a mystery featuring a female vicar in a parish in Herefordshire, close to Leominster which we visited last month.  It sounded great, but to my mind, too long, too convoluted and I was tempted to give up and take it back to the library part way through.  I battled on, but won't be reading the next in the series.

As ever, I shall be interested to read any thoughts anyone has - the fact I didn't enjoy a book doesn't mean it's badly written, just not my thing.


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